Whenever a conversation among my mother, aunts and me on beauty products comes up, they start asking me about the best eye serums or gray hair cover-ups.
While it's my job as a beauty editor to be "in the know" about the latest and greatest in the industry, a lot of what's on the beauty counters is just a bunch of BS. (Yeah, I said it.) And no one understands this better than Andrea Q. Robinson.
Having worked for years in the industry as a beauty editor, marketing officer and consultant, Robinson knows her way around the cosmetics aisle. So she's sharing all of her knowledge in a new book titled, "Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+."
When we asked Robinson why she felt the need to put together a handy guide for mature women, she told us, "[Women over 50] spend 4 trillion annually in goods and services and our cosmetic needs for our changing skin are ignored by the beauty industry except for being sold wrinkle creams! I decided to speak up about it by challenging the beauty industry on their seductive but sometimes not genuine tactics."
After a long weekend spent studying "Toss the Gloss," we'd like to highlight seven hair and makeup mistakes women over 50 should avoid.
As you read these tried-and-true tips, Robinson wants you to keep this in mind: "Don't try to reclaim youth, reclaim yourself. You, only better. Think that each time you pull a lipstick from your purse or make a cosmetic purchase."
1. Don't skip out on a beauty sleep. Ever.
A good night's sleep does make a difference to our skin, as it repairs and restores itself while we rest. Lack of sleep makes the skin appear dull and lifeless, and accentuates dark circles under the eyes.
2. Concealing dark circles with much lighter concealer never works.
It will only make you look worse because it will emphasize wrinkles and bags. Apply your concealer with a light hand, layering it thinly over your foundation and "patting" it in place with a small, stiff flat brush (or use your ring finger or a high-quality silk sponge).
3. Want to look really old? Use powder blush.
Your skin is likely not as smooth as it once was, and perhaps has a few lines and rough patches as well. Powder blush will sit in those lines, and your cheeks will end up looking splotchy and uneven.
4. You may be adept at plucking your own brows, but it's best to leave this grooming technique to a professional.
Droopy eyes can be changed by slightly arching the brows and extending them outward toward the temples (rather than having the tail curve down around the eye). The arch is an important part of the brow, and should be a gradual and very gentle lift.
5. If you have those nasty little vertical demon lines above your upper lip, toss the gloss.
The same thing goes for all dark lipsticks. Unless you have rich dark skin or plump lineless lips, toss those deep shades. They may seem sexy and sophisticated in the tube, but dark shades creep into those lines around your mouth and nothing ages you more than "bleeding" lipstick.
6. Don't be influenced by trumped-up celebrity styles.
Get a color that complements your skin tone, a cut that complements your body type and don't get obsessed with what you can't have -- especially since a quick glimpse in the mirror should prove you've likely got plenty to work with.
7. As for going totally gray, it can be dazzling.
You still have to take care of gray hair with the proper maintenance, including regular cuts, nourishing conditioners and the occasional hair mask. Gray hair tends to be drier and coarser than hair that has retained pigment. Gray hair left unattended will never measure up to the beautiful statement it can make about entering your middle years.